General Electric is giving Larry Culp more than 200 million reasons to stay and finish the job of turning around the storied conglomerate getting rocked by the pandemic.
GE’s board extended Culp’s contract by two years to at least August 2024, giving the CEO more time – and easier targets – to fix the troubled maker of jet engines, light bulbs and MRI machines.
If he’s successful, Culp could score a massive payday worth more than $230 million, according to a regulatory filing Thursday.
The new terms cut in half the stock price targets GE (GE) must hit for Culp, the well-respected former CEO of industrial company Danaher (DHR), to make that windfall.
The move underscores how essential Culp is viewed by Wall Street and GE’s board to turning around the once great company.
“In approving the amendment to Mr. Culp’s employment agreement and this award, the board considered the best interests of shareholders and the goal of substantially extending Mr. Culp’s tenure with the company,” GE said in the filing.
Culp joined GE in October 2018 as the company grappled with an existential crisis brought on by too much debt and crumbling businesses.
The new CEO – GE’s first outsider boss in company history – moved swiftly to slash debt, sell assets and cutting costs. Even GE critics credited Culp with saving the company from ruin.
GE stopped burning cash and its share price zoomed from $10.85 when Culp was hired to $13.16 by February 2020.
And then the pandemic struck, dealing a massive blow to the jet engine business that was GE’s biggest bright spot. GE’s share price has collapsed by 43% this year to $6.28.
But as an incentive to keep Culp at the helm, GE’s board lowered the bar for the CEO to make a windfall. The company promised to award him shares worth $124 million if Culp boosts the stock by 200% from current levels.
The big payday will come though if GE’s share price spiked by 250% to $16.67. Under that scenario, Culp would cash in with shares worth more than $230 million.